Museums Across the U.S. Will be Free to Enter on This Day in September — Here's Why

Tickets can be reserved starting Aug. 15.

Travelers will be able to access scores of free museums across the country in September thanks to Smithsonian Magazine's annual Museum Day.

The free day will take place on Saturday, Sept. 17, with museums, zoos, and cultural centers across the United States opening their doors for free, Smithsonian Magazine shared with Travel + Leisure. This is the 18th time the magazine has hosted Museum Day, which was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

"We are so thrilled to be able to bring Museum Day to the public for the 18th year and to once again be able to highlight many of the museums and cultural institutions that make America so special," Amy Wilkins, the chief revenue officer at Smithsonian Media, said in a statement provided to T+L. "Through the support of our incredible sponsors… we are able to enhance this initiative and continue to foster a sense of boundless curiosity for knowledge and culture across the country."

This year, the event is themed "The American Experience," and will focus "a spotlight on wonderful arts, culture, sciences, innovation and history exhibits across the country."

To participate, museum goers must reserve a ticket in advance on the Smithsonian Magazine's website. Tickets can be reserved starting Aug. 15.

Looking down at the TBM Avenger Torpedo Bomber at the National World War II Museum, Boeing Center in New Orleans
Inside the National World War II Museum, Boeing Center in New Orleans. Education Images/Getty Images

Each ticket will allow the ticket holder free access to any participating museum along with one guest. Tickets are limited to one per email address.

Participating museums are located in states across the U.S., and vary from art museums to air and space museums, children's museums, and more. Learn about the art and history of posters in New York's Poster House, for example, or learn about the port of Los Angeles with a visit to the Los Angeles Maritime Museum.

In addition to the museums, Smithsonian Magazine is teaming up with The Quaker Oats Company to give away 100 Smithsonian Science kits per day through Sept. 17. Five grand prize winners will also win a trip to Washington, D.C. and a visit to the Smithsonian museums.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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